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Celebrating 20 Years
Protecting the Environment 
Upcoming 2014 VEC Public Meetings: November 19 (Annex) and December 17 (Firemen's room). The commission meets once a month on Wednesday from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Verona Community Center located at 880 Bloomfield Ave., Verona, NJ 07044. The public is welcome to attend.
All VEC members are Verona residents, serve without compensation and are appointed by the Mayor. Join us in protecting Verona's environment for the health and well being of all. Going "Green" together is easy. Contact us at veronaenvironmental@gmail.com or write to: Verona Environmental Commission, 6oo Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, New Jersey 07044.

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The VEC at Fair in the Square
The Commission participated in Verona's Fair in the Square on Sunday, December 7th. 
Despite the cold and windy weather it was festive all day long with crafts and composting demonstrations (including a real composter on site). Kids made over 40 pine cone bird feeders and several snowflake ornaments with plastic bottles from HBW, previously cut by students from the Environmental Club. Several kids hung their bird feeders from nearby trees while others took them home with a brochure to help them identify common backyard birds. The commission also distributed composting brochures.

Verona Wins 2014 Environmental Award
The Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) presented its Environmental Achievement Awards to six local environmental commissions at the organization’s 41st Annual Environmental Congress on Oct. 24 at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. This year’s Award winners include Environmental Commissions from Chatham Township, Manalapan, Oakland, Verona, West Windsor and Westville. The Hawthorne Environmental Commission earned honorable mention. Pictured VEC members Gloria Machnowski and Jim Loudon with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, the keynote speaker at the event that gathered about 200 environmentalists from around the state. The VEC received the award for its recycling education campaign and video “Verona Recycling 101” produced by the commission in collaboration with students from the Verona High School Environmental Club and the the town's recycling manager. During the congress VEC commissioners also attended workshops such as "Trends in Local Open Space Preservation" and "New Jersey Water Supply".

Thank you Peckman Trail volunteers!
The commission organized a Fall clean up at the Peckman Trail behind F.N. Brown School on September 28. You can see the results in this new VIDEO. Fifteen volunteers showed up to remove cans, bottles and even old furniture! Volunteers also cleared a few downed trees, allowing the group to extend the pathway, and continue to pull the invasive Japanese knot weed. The trail is great for dog walkers, hikers and bikers. Everybody should stay on the trails, not only to protect plants and trees but to avoid ticks and poison ivy. This is really a hidden treasure in Verona, please visit the trail and help us keep it clean. For volunteering opportunities please contact us at veronaenvironmental@gmail.com 
https://sites.google.com/site/veronaenvironmentalcommission/home/IMG_4085-e.JPG?attredirects=0

The VEC won an open space grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions to preserve the trail adjacent to the river. The work began on April 26 with a trail cleanup. Over 40 volunteers show up and did some grueling work. See a map of the trail and more information HERE - During the summer, every Wednesday the commission and volunteers watered the new trees.

May 31 Tree Planting Event
The VEC organized a planting event on May 31 in the Peckman woods. The commission purchased 6 Ostrich ferns, 2 Serviceberries, 3 River Birches and 3 Swamp White Oaks. VDPW provided compost and tools and delivered the native trees to the site. Over 20 volunteers and 16 kids participated. Volunteers used a submersible pump provided by the BOE to water the trees. The commission also installed watering bags in all trees and will keep filling the bags all summer long. The VEC also plans to develop a trail guide.

First VEC Student Member
At its April 7 meeting, the Town Council unanimously appointed Julia Capuano as an Environmental Commission Alternate Member. Julia is the first student member since the commission was established over 20 years ago. Julia is a sophomore at Verona High School and a member of VHS Environmental Club. She feels protecting the environment for ourselves and future generations is crucial and she plans on attending college for environmental science. Julia has been attending the VEC public meetings for the past few months and she is currently collaborating in recycling and clean up projects. The VEC congratulates Julia Capuano on her new appointment!

The Commission Welcomes New Member
At its March 3 meeting, the Town Council unanimously approved Ms. Pearson as a full voting member of the VEC. During its March 19 VEC public meeting at the Verona Community Center VEC Chair Machnowski congratulated Pearson on her new appointment. Since Ms. Pearson joined the commission as an alternate in October 2013 she has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to the environment of Verona and the work of the VEC. She has put in countless hours researching issues we face. We are proud to count her as one of our members and look forward to her contributions.

Proclamation for Shimonaski
On December 16 the former Chair of the VEC, Gerard Shimonaski, was honored with a proclamation by the Verona Town Council. The Council surprised him with a certificate of appreciation recognizing his 10 years of service and 6 years as the chairman on the Verona Environmental Commission. Shimonaski is the current Vice-Chair on the VEC and on the Verona's Public Safety Committee and he also serves as the township representative to the County Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC). He is pictured here with Town Council members and former and current VEC members. Congratulations Jerry!

 
Verona joined Sustainable Jersey
On Nov. 2014 the VEC presented the program Sustainable Jersey to the Town Council and formally asked to create a resolution to register Verona in the program. The council's feedback was very positive, Verona became the 400th municipality in the state to join the program shortly after. Sustainable Jersey was launched in 2009 and it is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. There are over 125 actions that our municipality can earn points for in the Sustainable Jersey program. See the Sustainable Jersey Overview Brochure. It is a free program that  will give us preferred access to grant money and guidance on best practices to make Verona more environmentally friendly at a lower cost, saving money for our taxpayers. Verona also has a Green Team to coordinate our sustainability efforts. For more information please visit the Sustainable Verona website.

Happy 20th Anniversary, VEC!
The Verona Environmental Commission celebrated its 20 Year Anniversary by planting a shade tree by the Community Center's playground on October 2013. The tree is a wonderful 12 feet tall White Oak (Quecus alba L.) White oaks are native to eastern North America and found from Maine to Minnesota southward to Florida and Texas. It is a large, stately tree that can grow from 80 to 100 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter around the trunk. It grows upright and produces acorns which are a good food source for wildlife. White oak is an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall color. Specimens have been documented to be over 450 years old!! The VEC was established by Ordinance No. 9-92 on August 3, 1992. 

Horticultural Vinegar
To reduce the presence of poison ivy at the schools, Paul McDevitt, Verona's director of public school facilities uses horticultural vinegar. Although horticultural vinegar is an organic product that you can order on-line and notification of its application is not required the BOE provided a notification . If you see a BOE employee using a spray dispenser on either weeds or poison ivy, please know that this is the horticultural vinegar being applied and not a chemical based weed killer. The Material Safety Data Sheet is posted on the Buildings and Grounds page of the district website. The VEC also recommended to use this product at Verona Pool and during the Aug. 12 Council Meeting, the Town Manager announced that they will. Common chemical pesticides contain glyphosate and are acutely toxic to humans. Glyphosate has been linked to Cancer, Autism, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. It was described as "extremely persistent" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Well done Verona!   

Township Trees

All those trees planted in the curb strips along most streets are Township Trees. Also, in a few specific locations just inside the sidewalks, right of way, and in public recreation areas. Verona has been a Tree City for 26 consecutive years.Request for Township planting, pruning and removal should be made by calling Public Works at 973-857-4804. To learn more about The Verona Shade Tree Commission, our Township Trees and how to help them please READ HERE. Residents are encouraged to contact the police at 911 to report any emergency and (973) 239-5000 regarding any police related matter. Trees or power lines that have come down should be reported.

VEC Annual Report: Please read it HEREThe township encourages all residents to plant native trees and reduce, reuse, recycle,  and compost as much of their household waste as possible. You can access a live feed from Nixle here
The Verona Recycling Center located at 10 Commerce Ct. is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

2014 Poster Contest Winners

The VEC held their 6th Annual Poster Contest on Walk to School Day. Students Grade K to 12 submitted over 200 entries and all posters were exhibited at the public schools. 
Several posters will be on display at the Community Center and in the kiosks of the Hilltop Reservation. The awards ceremony took place at Town Hall on Nov. 3rd. 

Pictured from left, the 2014 winners with Verona Council Members: Jessica Sidrak (H. B. Whitehorne Middle School), Stephen Bartell (Forest Avenue School), Paul Chanley (Verona High School), Maya Cappello (Brookdale Avenue School), Erin Song (Laning Avenue School) and  Juliet Alkaysi (F.N. Brown School). Click right to see them.

This year's theme was "Sustainable Verona". You can watch the VIDEO here! Walking or biking to school, turning off cars while parked, buying locally, preserving open space, planting native trees and composting are just a few ways to make Verona more sustainable. Each winner received $50 dollars and an award certificate from Verona's Mayor, Bob Manley. Thank you students, families and educators for supporting this program!

VEC Videos:
NEW Sustainable Verona: the VEC produced this 6 min. video with artwork submitted by Verona students to our 2014 Poster Contest. We received over two hundred entries from public school students grades K to 12. The video shows a hundred of those posters. Great job everyone!

Verona Recycling 101: 6-minute video produced by the VEC in collaboration with students from thee High School Environmental Club. This video received a 2014 Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions. The video was shot at the Verona Recycling Center, located at 10 Commerce Court in Verona (map) and open to the public Wednesday and Saturday 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For more information please visit our Solid Waste and Recycling page and refer to the 2014 Verona Garbage and Recycling Schedule. 

Kids Ride to the Peckman Trail: 3 minutes video made by Verona kids with helmet camera.

Wastewater Treatment Facility: the commission produced this 8-minute video, please watch it to learn how you can help protect our waterways (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen).

Go Idle Free Verona is a 2 minute video from the VEC and it is part of the commission's campaign against unnecessary vehicle idling. The video was entirely shot and edited by VEC members in Verona. The commission would like to especially thank the HBW Environmental Club and the kids from Verona for their participation and support. We invite you to watch it and learn how you can help to enhance Verona's air quality (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen). An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! NJ State Law prohibits idling more than three minutes for both diesel and gasoline non-emergency vehicles. Please Turn the Key -Be Idle Free!

Verona Recycling Help Verona save money and go green. Click "play" below to watch our video and reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can in Verona!

Let’s encourage kids to walk to school and support them by improving air quality and safe driving. Please watch our video presentation Idle Free Verona and spread the word!

VEC Programs:

Do You Have a Treasured Tree?

Do you have one of Verona's great trees in your yard? The VEC is accepting nominations for Verona's Treasured Trees. This program recognizes beautiful, mature trees and the homeowners who care for them. If you would like to nominate a tree please e-mail us. Homeowners whose trees are designated as Treasured Trees receive a tree plaque and the tree is included in our  "Virtual Tree Tour". One of the easiest ways to enhance our urban environment is to plant a tree. We encourage residents to plant native trees such as Oaks and Redbuds. They thrive with minimal attention and provide shelter and food to local wildlife. Click HERE for a list of wonderful native trees suitable for planting in our area. Pictured, a 2011 Treasured Tree, a majestic Red Oak located at 21 Anne Street in Verona. Trees do amazing things. Did you know 95% of the water trees drink gets evaporated into the atmosphere? Watch the video HERE

Recycling Campaign

The VEC put together a presentation for all elementary schools in town. The content and pictures were generated locally by VEC members targeting third and fourth grade students, as requested by Frank Albano, Laning Avenue School Principal. The VEC presented this program at the following schools: Forest Ave., Laning Ave. (pictured here), F.N.Brown, Brookdale Ave. and Our Lady of the Lake. Recycling questions, call 973-857-4804. For more information contact us. READ MORE